June 5th, 2014
05:53 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN exclusive: Doctor in Senate says Bergdahl was drugged in video

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who is a also a physician, told CNN he is convinced that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was drugged in the so-called "proof of life" video shown to senators during a closed briefing Wednesday.

When news broke of Bergdahl's release in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners, administration officials cited Bergdahl's health as a driving factor in the decision to make the deal and get him home.

But in an exclusive interview with CNN, Coburn said he is convinced that Bergdahl "had been drugged" in the video, "either with an anti-psychotic or hypnotic drug," he said.

How could he tell?

"It's easy," Coburn replied, "His speech was slurred, he was having trouble reading, and he had what's called 'nystagmus.' I mean, he'd been obviously drugged. "

Coburn went on to emphasize that he was making that observation as a physician

"I'm speaking as a doctor, yeah," said Coburn.

Coburn is an obstetrician gynecologist.

The public has not seen this proof of life video, which is still classified.

When asked if it was possible that Bergdahl could have been beaten up, or sick – and not drugged, Coburn said: "Not at all. Not at all. That's a total response to medication."

He went on further to describe the way Bergdahl appeared on the video.

"First of all, very sleepy. Having trouble focusing, concentrating. Was staring at a card they were making him read. You couldn't see the card but you could see what he was doing. You could see his eyes, with what's caused 'nystagmus,' moving back and forth. You know, he was obviously drugged," said Coburn.

Coburn, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also told CNN that Bergdahl "cleared a health check as he came into Germany."

"Now, his mental health is probably not, and his psychological health, but his physical health is fine," said Coburn,

The morning after Bergdahl's release, National Security Adviser Susan Rice told CNN's Candy Crowley they "had indications that indeed his health was growing more fragile. He had lost a good bit of weight, and we were very concerned that time was not something we could play with, that we
needed to act when we had the opportunity. And that's what we did."

Coburn, trying to be careful not to disclose classified information, told CNN Bergdahl's health was not the determining factor.

"That wasn't the basis– I can't comment any more outside– because most of it is classified, but I would say that's not the basis under which they made the decision," he said.

Related: Obama: I don't apologize for Bergdahl swap

Filed under: Senate • Tom Coburn
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Enough of this Berdahl bs, I am glad he is home safe. Let his parents deal that. GOP garbage no one trusts.

    June 5, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    "Dr" coburn who said that women should have breast implants because they are safer? Safer from what? Silicone implants need to be replaced every 10-15 years and if there's a tumor it can't be seen. That safer?
    "Dr" coburn who said that lesbianism is so rampant in OK that girls are only allowed to go the bathroom one at a time.
    That "dr" coburn?

    June 5, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Gynecologists know everything.

    June 5, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Can also be caused by torture by sleep deprivation, head trauma, and a whole host of other both physical and psychological things. This latest attempt to undermine is just disgusting. No doctor with a shred of integrity or decency would attempt diagnosis with surety via a crappy videotape and then dismiss any physical ailments when Bergdahl had so clearly, even in the pictures and videos we've been allowed to see so far, lost so much weight. You can't diagnose internal injuries, malnutrition, parasites, viruses, infections, broken bones, trauma to parts of the body not shown in the video or myriad other things just from a short video, and yet here he is, Doctor Partisan Jackhole, who has never even stood within 50 feet of the "patient," claiming just from a video that Bergdahl's physical health was just fine and not in any jeopardy in any way.

    And BTW, who cares? If they were drugging the crap out of him on a regular basis, then that's torture, would very easily lead to physical maladies (especially if they were forcing him to use heroin from their poppies) and would certainly lead to mental health issues that could very well be longer lasting and more life threatening than any of his physical injuries. Raise your hand if you think 5 years of being forced into heroine abuse so they could control you with the withdrawal-reward cycle wouldn't lead to extreme physical and psychological trauma?

    This is truly a new low for these jerks.

    June 5, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    WOW! Maybe I can avoid taking the morning off from work and the co-pays if I just send my primary care physician a selfie next time it's time for a physical?

    June 5, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    In fact...everyone should inundate Coburn's Twitter and Facebook accounts with selfies asking for his diagnosis of their ailments. Ready? Go!

    June 5, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. rs

    Why do Republicans so enjoy practicing medicine via video? It was certainly invasive and wrong in the Schaivo case. If our POW was drugged, what can we conclude from that? Or is this simply more assassination by proxy?

    June 5, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Tony in Maine

    Hmmmm. I seem to recall another Repo Senator, also a doctor, who found himself in rather deep doo for making a diagnosis on the basis of a few minutes of video. Coburn has an ax to grind – it's all about demonizing the President. Policy and carrying out that policy will always take second place to politics in the mind of Republicans.

    June 5, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Mr. Balls

    Making a diagnosis without examining the patient?

    June 5, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    A doctor making a conclusive diagnostic with out a single lab test? If this would have happened in a real life we would have saved billions that we spend for a laboratory test (clinical diagnostic). But, only a doctor with (R) can do this because he is describing faith based medicine for Fox newsfeed.

    June 5, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Mike

    my gosh, don't they ever stop fabricating stories? I mean partisan politics s is one thing, but these hacks are overboard, and look waht they are dioing to an Ameriac n soldier and his family

    June 5, 2014 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. Mike

    Don't ever be seen by this quack. Your heath is fine, he will tell you., I saw you on camera in the office waiting room.

    June 5, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    How low can you go? This is a right wing, Republican stooge who betrayed his Hippocratic Oath when he joined hands with the likes of Rove, Ailes and the Kock Brothers. To call him a doctor is an insult to those who actually care for people in need!

    June 6, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. Thomas

    I'm speaking as a doctor, yeah," said Coburn.

    Coburn is an obstetrician gynecologist.

    Half the United States of America is overly medicated , it's great that Coburn is so aware .

    June 6, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. J.V.Hodgson

    This is neither NEWS or a Story it is pure unadulterated, speculative gossip OF WHICH THERE IS FAR TOO MUCH ALREADY that is equally unnecessary and serves no purpose other than to put something on the table as to why "potentially?"" this exchange and reasons were a misjudgment.

    June 6, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And this is EXACTLY why Congress didn't need to be notified. They have said NO to any and everything this POTUS has tried to work with their jealous selves on. Why would this be different? There would be meetings and investigations and it would be months before something could be done for the soldier. The GOP is filled with hate filled jealous necks that are angry the country elected Barack Obama twice.

    June 6, 2014 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  17. @RI_Roger

    Has anyone ever witness an administration self implode so many times in such a short time span on numerous issues? ....and we thought Joe Biden was the "gift that kept on giving" .What will tomorrow bring?..!

    June 6, 2014 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  18. salty dog

    Sorry doctor, the truth has no place in the right wing conspiracy theories . You'll come to realize, their the experts, and your just politicising this. Standard gop propaganda procedures, discount reality, and replace with your own, rinse, repeat as necessary .

    June 6, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |